The Business FAQ page is truly comprehensive. Do a keyword search or browse by category.
For general information on private companies, try these databases:
Articles can be a great source of information and insight about private companies. Search these databases for articles on private companies:
For general information on public companies, try these databases:
EDGAR : Search the Securities and Exchange Commission's publicly available database of publicly traded companies SEC filings directly from their website, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system or EDGAR.
Articles can be a great source of information and insight about any company. Search these databases for articles on public companies:
Determining Company Status: Public v. Private
Determining the status of a company is the most important part of conducting company research. Public and private companies differ considerably in the availability of information about their operations, therefore you should have a basic understanding of their differences.
a. Publicly Traded Companies
Publicly traded companies sell stock to the general public on a stock exchange. Anyone who purchases stock in a company owns part of that company. As a result, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) requires public companies to disclose financial and other information to their owners, so that investors can determine for themselves if their company's securities are a good investment (see Required Disclosure Filings on this page.
b. Private/Closely Held Companies
Privately or closely held businesses, are those for which there is no public ownership of its shares or assets. Although closely held businesses tend to be small, family owned or jointly owned by a small group of people, they can also be large or wholly owned subsidiaries of major publicly traded companies. It should be kept in mind that the majority of businesses in the United States are private. Because privately held companies do not sell shares to the public, they are not required by law to report financial information to the SEC. As a result, it is more difficult to locate detailed information about a private company's operations.
A subsidiary is a distinctly separate firm controlled by a parent company. A subsidiary is referred to as "wholly owned" when 100% of its stock is owned by its parent company. Large publicly held multi-national companies often own dozens of smaller privately owned subsidiaries for which financial information is filed under the name of the parent company. As a result, having knowledge of whether a private firm is a subsidiary of a public corporation is extremely important when looking for company information.
Travelscape, Inc., a travel agent and reservation services company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Expedia Group, Inc., which is a public company traded on the NASDAQ.